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Get Jiro! [Hardcover]

Anthony Bourdain , Joel Rose , Langdon Foss
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 3 2012 Get Jiro!
A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Library Journal Best Book of 2012


In a not-too-distant future L.A. where master chefs rule the town like crime lords and people literally kill for a seat at the best restaurants, a bloody culinary war is raging.

On one side, the Internationalists, who blend foods from all over the world into exotic delights. On the other, the "Vertical Farm," who prepare nothing but organic, vegetarian, macrobiotic dishes. Into this maelstrom steps Jiro, a renegade and ruthless sushi chef, known to decapitate patrons who dare request a California Roll, or who stir wasabi into their soy sauce. Both sides want Jiro to join their factions. Jiro, however has bigger ideas, and in the end, no chef may be left alive!

Anthony Bourdain, top chef, acclaimed writer (Kitchen Confidential, Medium Raw) and star of the hit travel show, No Reservations, co-writes with Joel Rose (Kill Kill Faster Faster, The Blackest Bird) this stylized send-up of food culture and society, with detailed and dynamic art by Langdon Foss.


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Review

"'Get Jiro!'" unfolds in a dystopian version of Los Angeles where today's (mostly) polite and academic discussions about food have evolved into grisly gastronomic feuds.... In some ways, "Get Jiro!" represents a coming-full-circle thing for Mr. Bourdain."—The New York Times

"What's an ex-yakuza enforcer turned sushi chef to do, ask culinary expert and author Bourdain (Medium Raw) and co-writer Joel Rose (La Pacifica) in this boisterous lampooning of food culture, a pet project for Bourdain, who seems to revel in the unrestrained narrative allowed in a comic book. Their answer will be enjoyable to anyone versed in samurai revenge stories or the films of Sam Peckinpah.... The book's saving grace is the wonderfully clean and detailed art by an all-star team of artists led by illustrator Foss, whose meticulously researched and composed visuals mirror Jiro's precision with a knife and produce equally appetizing results."—Publishers Weekly

"Bourdain...promised 'an ultra-violent slaughter-fest over culinary arcane,' and he delivers pretty much exactly that....Bourdain let's his foodie id run wild, extolling the elegant simplicity of a peasant dish like pot-au-feu here and caving in skulls with sauté pans there.  Foss' stubby, dough-faced figures walk a fine line between goofy and thuggish, and fall apart with great ickiness when dismembered. Equal parts blunt culinary opinion-mongering and satiric takedown of the very same chef-worship culture Bourdain helped create, this amusing diversion coasts comfortably in the wake of the standard bearer of gore-soaked foodie comics..."—Booklist

About the Author

Born in 1956, Anthony Bourdain graduated from the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America. He began running New York kitchens at restaurants such as Supper Club, One Fifth Avenue, and Sullivan's. His extensive body of work has graced the pages of The Times, New York Times, Observer, the Face, and Scotland on Sunday. He is an ongoing contributor and authority for Food Arts magazine. Bourdain's fictional works include two crime novels– 1997's Gone Bamboo and Bone in the Throat in 1995. His book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly was a bestseller, with an updated edition published in 2007. In 2002, the Food Network debuted what would become a twenty-two episode series featuring Bourdain circling the globe and feeding his adventure eating habit with the most extreme cuisine the world had to offer. The inspired bestselling book, A Cook's Tour In Search of the Perfect Meal, met with huge success in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Joel Rose's most recent novel is The Blackest Bird, which has been translated into 13 languages. Previous books include Kill the Poor, Kill Kill Faster Faster (both of which have been made into films), and New York Sawed in Half. For DC Comics, he wrote the graphic novels La Pacifica and The Big Book Of Thugs.


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Customer Reviews

2.3 out of 5 stars
2.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is well written with some interesting subject matter and the artwork is very well done. It seems to exisit in a Blade Runner / Cyber Punk sort of world where chefs have come to rule supreme which is dark and a little quirky. One issue is that for a graphic novel it may be a little short and it seems a little closer to comic book length than graphic novel length.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Comic - not. July 19 2013
By Jane
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Could not even finish but for those who are comic book fans, the illustrations are really good. But for reading, not for me.
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5 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By Andre Lawrence TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I don't know what happened here.

This novel is a cross between those old 70's films, The Warriors and Lone Wolf/ Lightning Swords of Death. There's, clearly, a deliberate attempt to tap into the Quentin Tarantino fan base.

But, the difference between, let's say, "Kill Bill" and this disaster is that Tarantino knows how to take disparate elements, stereotypes and mold them into a truly interesting story.

This story is just plain dumb. D-U-M-B...dumb.

Would you ever see (or expect your audience to wink to) a character who'd slice off a customer's head--unprovoked--because he ate sushi the wrong way while his friends, who're sitting by his decapitated body, merely wipe away his blood before resuming their obsession with Jiro's delicacies?

The main story revolves around Jiro, a renegade chef who just moved to L.A. to start a new life but finds himself embroiled between restaurant mafias who vie for his services.

Not even the illustrations can save this dud and I'm being VERY generous.

GET JIRO....NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 star.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  66 reviews
26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Handsome Artwork And An Amusing Premise, But The Satiric Storytelling Needs More Flavor May 31 2012
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Controversial food personality Anthony Bourdain has never been reticent about vocalizing his viewpoints about cooking, foodie culture, and/or other celebrity chefs. This brash and opinionated matter-of-factness can make him somewhat of a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. I, for one, appreciate that his honesty (and even disdain) are not instantly filtered through a politically correct publicity machine. In the current entertainment landscape, it's increasingly rare for someone to express an unprocessed thought. So while I may not always agree with the outspoken Bourdain, I respect his forthrightness. I've been a fan of many of Bourdain's books, and still rank 2000's "Kitchen Confidential" as one of my favorites (it was even adapted into a short-lived and criminally underrated FOX sitcom with Bradley Cooper).

Thus, I was pretty excited by the idea of "Get Jiro!" Combining my love of food entertainment with my love of the graphic novel form (is this really a large market?), "Get Jiro!" just sounded like fun! And, to a certain degree, it is. The story revolves around a future version of Los Angeles where fine dining and culinary superiority rule the day. The city is ravaged by opposing chefs, and this violent division creates a daily body count in the war of food movements. The two despots that run the dueling factions are exaggerated and satiric versions of contemporary food personalities that you might recognize (if not by actual person, by philosophy). Amidst the bloodshed (and enhancing it ten-fold), an independent sushi chef named Jiro comes to the attention of both warlords. But by trying to manipulate Jiro to their own end, each may find their own undoing at hand.

Again, I love the idea of "Get Jiro!" The finished artwork that I've seen (credited to Langdon Foss) is incredibly detailed and impressive. I read quite a few graphic novels, and I would hold the completed images that were provided in my advance copy easily on the top tier. There is no doubt in my mind that the book will be visually stunning. Just studying the images, there are plenty of small in-jokes to amuse and entertain and the coloring and shading is top notch. My primary reservations, however, come from the actual story. Once I fully embraced the premise, I didn't feel like the narrative took me anyplace that I wasn't expecting from having read the synopsis. Once established, the story is rather straightforward (if gore soaked) and I wanted a bit more cleverness, a few more surprises, more moments to make me laugh. The idea is loaded with satiric possibilities, but the text plays it too straight through the violent onslaught of images.

As a curiosity, I'd still recommend this to Bourdain fans or those interested in the culinary scene. If Jiro returns for another adventure, however, I'd like the humor to be heightened. It's a lunatic world that has been created, embrace it! About 3 1/2 stars. I liked my trip to the future, but I wanted to love it! KGHarris, 5/12.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The difference between a snob and a connoisseur July 6 2012
By J. C. Kinder - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really liked Get Jiro. I liked the snide references, the in jokes, the sheer bloody mindedness of the whole production. What makes it all work, the pulsing vein under the tattooed skin, is Bourdain's profound love of food, of the craft of cooking and of the cooks who make it. It is that love of "The Good Stuff" that so often translates as snobbishness, when in fact it is the soul of a connoisseur. That soul is on proud display in Get Jiro.

The plot is lifted directly from Yojimbo and other similar films. A badass comes into town, and two rival warlords battle each other for his services. Here that badass is Jiro, a super traditional Edo style sushi chef, willing to decapitate a customer for violating sushi etiquette. His blade work (pun very much intended)gets him noticed and the two warlords set out to recruit him. I am not sure who the industrial-internationalist chef is supposed to be modeled on, I suspect he is an amalgamation of chefs and business owners Bourdain has known over the years. The eco-warrior/locovore/organic chef is a blatant riff on Alice Waters. I am reminded of the essay in Medium Raw where he compares her food philosophy to that of the Khmer Rouge. Not favorably.

The interesting thing about Get Jiro, and staying true to the Yojimbo format, is that both sides are shown to be absolute bastards. Not stupid, not incapable of producing good food. Just the reverse- both sides produce great food. Just that each camp falls into it's own unique corruption and hubris. Growing in the cracks between the two ideological camps are taco vendors who's food might not be remotely authentic, but are tasty and use good ingredients. Standing in line for a Vietnamese sandwich and eating it with delight. The joy and satisfaction from bistro food which relies on the cheap scraps of animals and utterly common vegetables. How someone can read this and still call Bourdain a food snob is beyond me. Yes, he disdains fast food and burgers which use Krispy Kreme doughnuts for buns. That's not "The Good Stuff." And sometimes "The Good Stuff" costs a lot of money, but that's not what makes it good. What makes something "The Good Stuff" is the care of the chef, from choosing the best ingredients, to technique, flavor, smell, everything that makes a bite special or memorable. Jiro gets that.

There are a lot of fun bits in this book. Discussions on how to properly eat sushi and the importance of the rice. Different fish butchery techniques. How to cook a good broth, the necessity of good produce suppliers and a thousand other little details permeate the book. Even Jiro's knife and the wood used at his counter get a short discussion. Just wonderful.

A short note on violence. This is a violent book. A lot of people die, are dismembered, decapitated and have other assorted unpleasantness befall them. It did not bother me particularly. It might bother you. It's riffing on spaghetti westerns and Kurosawa samurai flicks, there will be blood. On the other hand it has a good sense of humor and a good heart. I recommend it with no reservations (pun again, sorry), and have already lent my copy to a friend. Who is under strict orders to get it back soon...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The battle of foodie culture has begun in `Get Jiro!' Aug. 20 2012
By David Suiter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Renowned Chef and best selling author Anthony Bourdain grew up a fan of comic books. He loved the work of comic legend Will Eisner. He aspired to one day make comics. In the Vertigo original graphic novel Get Jiro! Bourdain follows in the footsteps of his comic idols and puts pictures to his words. Along with co-writer Joel Rose and artist Langdon Foss, Bourdain gives a twisted and violent look at the future of a food obsessed society and the proper presentation of sushi.

The story focuses on the sushi chef Jiro. We learn right away is that Jiro does not suffer fools in his sushi restaurant. When a patron dishonors Jiro by sloppily eating his nigiri and requesting a California Roll, Jiro slices his head off. Instead of the police getting Jiro, the top two restaurant financiers in the world seek out the sushi chef to have him bring his passion for good food to their establishments.

In the not too distant future, the new power in the world is its chefs. Two chefs rein supreme. Bob, of Global Affiliates, churns out chain restaurants to feed his bank account treating the masses as uncouth sheep. Then there is Rose, of the Farm, whose devotion to local grown organic goods inspires zealotry in her followers. These two chefs run mob-like organizations and are out to get Jiro.

Bourdain and Joel Rose explore the dueling nature of the food cultures brilliantly, playing up the hypocrisy of both sides. Jiro, while protective of his food and how it is enjoyed, remains outside of the fanaticism of these food mafias.

Much of Bourdain's personality can be seen in the graphic novel. Bourdain exudes his views on food culture and the games among chefs that have overtaken the importance of quality food. Bourdain has done well in meshing his culinary commentary with the graphic novel form. The book is beautifully done while also injecting humor and violence into an obsessive food culture.

The art of Get Jiro! is stunning in its portrayal of the food on the pages. Foss' attention to detail when drawing the sushi prepared by Jiro will entice even the most tepid of palates. From perfectly executed nigiri to perfectly executed beheadings and dismemberments, Foss captures the tone of the story. The portrayal of all the characters plays into the satirical nature of the story which is shown in the beautiful artwork.

Get Jiro! lampoons the foodie culture through extreme, condoned violence. The book looks at how too much significance is placed in what goes into the food or how mass produced the food can be rather than how it is tasted and enjoyed. Jiro is a mystery man whose greatest attribute, his love of food, comes through in these pages. He is willing to kill for his craft and is lauded for it. The book captures the outspoken nature of its writer as Bourdain tells a great tale that shows the craziness of the kitchens Bourdain cut his teeth in.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Last Chef Standing June 1 2012
By Zack Davisson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
There is a tradition of celebrities "writing" comics. Rock musicians. Genre actors. Porn stars. What have you. There is also a tradition that these comics are terrible. They are pointless, vanity projects by people who don't know the first thing about writing comics and published by companies knowing they will bank a few coin on name value alone.

Anthony Bourdain, I am happy to say, has broken this tradition.

Because "Get Jiro!" is pretty good. It's a funny, violent little satire that mixes foodies and celebrity chef culture with Kurosawa Akira's Yojimbo (or Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest, depending on how you look at it), and spices it up with obsessive sushi culture. It's a comic with a good sense of humor that pokes fun at things that need to be poked at, and respects things that need to be respected. There is nothing epic here, nothing ground-breaking. I have seen the "chef as action hero" done before and done better in Johnny Hiro. But it is entertaining.

The story is set in the future, where foodies and celebrity chefs dominate all other forms of entertainment. Imagine the Food Network pouring out from your TV and covering the world like a plaque, transforming everything it touches. In this world is Jiro, a traditionalist sushi maker working in a run-down little shop practicing his art. He gets caught in a struggle between Bob, the epicurean who knows exactly what a good meal is but still pushes out big-box, money-making junk restaurants for the masses (think Bobby Flay), and Alice, the neo-hippy locavore/vegan/ frutopian who follows every trend she can cash in on (think Alice Waters). In classic Yojimbo fashion, Jiro agrees to work for both and pits them against each other, trying to clear the playing field for small, artisanal restaurants.

"Get Jiro!" works because even though Bourdain is a celebrity, he is also a writer. He and co-writer Joel Rose spice up the story with sex and violence and food porn. There is some nice deadpan humor--I loved the cops discussing the merits of sushi rice while dealing with a severed head. Bourdain packs the book full of his personal food philosophy, like that a run-down taco truck serves better, more delicious food than most 4-Star restaurants, or that tiny bistros run by passionate, skilled cooks are the greatest things in the world.

Artist Langdon Foss does a decent job. I'm not familiar with Foss; his biography lists him as an artist for Heavy Metal and Wizards of the Coast. His art has an almost Steve Dillon (Preacher)-tinge too it, with tube-headed, expressive figures filled in with lots of little lines. Foss does a good job with the details, and I was impressed to see a piece of sushi drawn with almost every grain of rice illustrated.

Unfortunately, DC was chintzy and for a review copy sent me an uncolored proof with only the first twelve pages colored. This is a double-punch when you see that "Get Jiro!" Is a collaboration by two of the best colorists in the business, Jose Villarrubia (King Conan: The Scarlet Citadel), and the King of Colors himself Dave Stewart. Those first twelve pages show just how much a colorist contributes to a book over all, and can make a mediocre artist look brilliant. Villarrubia and Stewart add weight, depth, and much-needed punch to Foss' simple outlines, and the uncolored portion of the books looks amateurish by comparison. I am willing to bet that the final product will be outstanding to look at, but that will be thanks to the colorists not the artist.

Oh, and one pet peeve: Because sushi chef Jiro is Japanese, "Get Jiro!" is peppered with Japanese words to add a little authenticity and flavor to the story. That's fine. The problem is, they are misspelled. Is it REALLY that hard to get a Japanese speaker to proof a book like this? I mean really. Especially with cooking terms that are the same in English and Japanese. Japanese chefs don't make "daishi." They make "dashi." They don't chop "moguro," they chop "maguro."

If you are listening Anthony Bourdain, here is a deal for you! If you want to try this again, send me your books and I will proof the Japanese for you. Free of charge. Because just like sushi, getting the little details right makes all the difference.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Jiro" hit the spot July 4 2012
By D. Hodgson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wow, looking through some of these reviews I've got to say... tough crowd.

My copy, which came in today (7/4/12) had me riveted to the couch, going over every single panel in great detail marvelling over the... well, the detail, the visual in-jokes and reflecting on all the Bourdainisms that I've enjoyed spread throughout his non-fiction works and TV series. It's almost like - well, reading a condensed Alan Moore graphic novel only with crisper art re-imagined by way of Zack Snyder. And to address some early reviewer comments, it's a glossy hardcover, full-color throughout - no corners were cut on the production of this book.

Very briefly, Anthony's set up a three-way brawl between a corporate-foodie chef's empire (could be anyone), an anarcho-raw foodie chef's empire (Alice Waters by way of Whole Foods) and a sushi samurai who ends up being the accidental fist of the oppressed sushi 'n pho immigrant-food community which, for anyone who's followed Bourdain's books, is his deepest love. Casual Bourdain fans will probably not get some of the best bits (how not to eat sushi, the Maguro Bocho sword, the Ortolan scene) but there's enough background elsewhere for casual foodie readers to follow along provided that they understand where Bourdain's coming from. And that's just it - if they don't, then they're probably missing out because the real pleasure comes from catching all the insider aspects where the author's skewering personality shines through. Be aware however that "Get Jiro" is played with a very dry humor - if you can get past the food-rage, they are there in spades.

BTW Jiro, the main character, is almost certainly named after Jiro Ono of "Jiro Dreams Of Sushi" fame - if you doubt, note the attention given to the rice!
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